Each week, we receive dozens of emails from clients about their success.
We select one or two to publish in the SOAR Newsletter.
The following have been published from a selection of our most recent emails
Here is a sample of our client comments. We always ask permission first.
Some clients have written longer reviews about SOAR.
58. "Faced My Fear"
I wanted to thank you again and let you know I am now in Israel. I didn't have any anxiety prior to the flight. I was at peace throughout the long flights. My sixteen-month-old daughter was great as well. It feels amazing to have faced my fear. Thank you for your program and all of your support. The only time I had a little anxiety was during take off, and after doing 54321, it was gone.
57. "Helped Me So Much"
I have been in your program for the past 3 years. Previous to that, I had not flown for 9 years. Now my family and I fly about once a year. . . . I felt so good about this time flying! I journal every time I'm on my flights. I find that helpful to re-read prior to another flight. It reminds me of how well I did and pushes me for the next time. Tom, as always, I thank you for all your encouragement and support. Your program has helped me so much! God bless you and your work.
56. Got Over Fear Of Flying And Upset Her Credit Card Company
After a 15 hour flight home, my husband and I went straight to bed. Due to jet lag, we were wide awake at 3:00 A.M., so I listened to my voice mail messages. One was a frantic call from our bank saying there had been suspicious activity on our debit card...Rome, Italy???!!!
I can hardly believe it myself. I FLEW TO EUROPE! This was the chance for a trip of a lifetime and I spent many months preparing. If you only knew how terribly afraid I have been of flying (any kind of heights). Your course was a huge help. Thank you so much for your kind and compassionate concern for what is such a paralyzing, irrational (and embarrassing) fear.
The knowledge of how very safe flying is, the reminder of all the training, and backups and maintenance and monitoring there is in the industry and especially the mental exercises all helped me very much. I didn't actually meet the pilots but amazingly I was able to see them before they boarded and even overhear them a couple times and that helped. As did the mental exercises with visual imagery to soothe myself and relax (deep breathing, etc.) I suspect I will always be a nervous flyer, but now I know I can do fine and can look forward to getaways with my family.
This is so freeing. No more opting out of fun travel. My son graduates from BYU Hawaii this December and we have already booked our tickets. Thank you thank you!
55. "The Program WORKS"
Well, let me tell you something you already know - the program WORKS.
I did Minneapolis - Amsterdam - Frankfurt and Frankfurt - London- Minneapolis 14 days later. We even had a bit of moderate turbulence on the way back from London over the ocean, and I didn't even care. That's a real switch! Previously, the thought of light turbulence sitting at my desk would make me nauseous and sweaty in a most visceral way.
This time, I didn't have to take anything. The anticipatory anxiety was replaced by boredom in the waiting area.
My stomach was not doing flips and going into knots. My hands were not sweaty. I wasn't rehearsing for certain doom.
Having a new perspective in which to place my reality stopped creative negative thinking. I didn't go into my own movie. Having coping skills reduced the discomfort somehow. I can handle it because I'm not in danger. Having "scratched up the tape" from an old bad flight so it didn't play out in my head kept reality in focus. The Strengthening Exercise made me strong. For me, the comfort image that bubbled up as most effective for me was our cat sitting on my chest purring and licking my nose, as he does every evening.
I was able to enjoy the parts that were smooth as glass, and notice how it felt like we were hardly moving at all. I was able to enjoy the scenery and the beautiful view you can only get from up high. I found myself wondering how great it must be from the cockpit! I did not flip out during banks and spiral descents.
The worst part of the whole trip was Heathrow Terminal 5 losing one of my bags, and I'm not the first person that's happened to. If I can do an international trip, there and back again, I can see Disney with my kids, my family out of state, and anything else I need to for my career.
I'm another grateful graduate who willingly heaps a ton of thanks your way.
I did it, and I did it because of the SOAR program!
54. "I've Been TRAVELING"
Just wanted to check in to let you know I am still out here and still flying, thanks to you and the SOAR program. I haven't visited the Wednesday chat recently because I've been TRAVELING -- just returned from a multi-flight trip from Harrisburg to Chicago, then to L.A., then San Francisco, then Chicago again and then back to Harrisburg. Window seat on every flight and rarely a hint of anxiety.
Anyone who knew me before I took the course in 2007 still cannot believe it. I can't believe it. Before SOAR, taking a plane trip would have been as impossible as flapping my own wings and taking off. Something has shifted in my brain. I do avoid graphic news about aviation incidents when I'm going to be flying, but even if I am exposed to it, I generally think it's sad news but it means nothing about anything that might happen on my flight.
Sometimes I feel "cured" and think I don't have to meet the pilots anymore. I think that would be a mistake, though. The experience has always been reassuring and they're always glad to oblige.
I enjoy the feature on United flights that allows passengers to listen on headphones to the pilots talking during the flight.
Sometimes when I meet the pilots they invite me into the cockpit, like they did on my Northwest flight from Chicago to Los Angeles.
Thank you again for broadening my horizons.
53. A Cessna Pilot's Fear Of Flying As A Passenger
Hi Capt. Tom:
I always enjoy reading the personal stories sent in by people your course has helped, so I wanted to share a little of my own experience!
I learned to fly a small Cessna before I ever learned to drive. . . . But of course you know the difference between flying a small plane yourself (easy to understand how it works and you're in control yourself) and riding as a passenger on a commercial airliner (where you might not understand how the plane works, exactly, and you're certainly not in control of it). . . . I could still fly a small plane without fear. Which to me proves the irrationality and emotionally-based fear of flying on a modern airliner.
In the last two years, your program has helped me change from a person who was so fearful of flying that I have actually walked away from the gate and rented a car to drive home--from Kansas City to Austin, for example, a few years ago. But thanks to your program, I've been able to fly several times recently--once even changing planes in Phoenix on a flight from Seattle. Two years ago I could never have done that. On the plane, I'm actually able to read a magazine, drink a Coke, chat with my fellow passengers--all without the sweaty hands and constant terror I previously felt. I don't love flying yet but now I can do it and go places I want to without spending the entire time long before and during my trip in fear of my upcoming flight and then the return flight home, spoiling my enjoyment of traveling anywhere.
Just a couple of tips. Starting a few days before my flight to San Francisco a couple of weeks ago I began reviewing the DVDs in your program that were most helpful to me. I also bought a very small, inexpensive DVD player (Phillips makes a very nice, tiny one no bigger than a thin paperback book) that I could take right in my purse on the plane to listen to my audio CD from the program, and to watch a couple of the most useful DVDs in the program.
As it turned out I did so well on my flights I didn't need to watch or listen to them again, but it felt like a nice security blanket to have them along just in case. I also took along a favorite movie to watch on my DVD player instead of the horrible in-flight one with its loud commercials. You don't even have to take headphones if you don't have room--you can just use the airline ones.
Personally I consider your program a tremendous bargain at whatever price--you must be proud of being able to help so many people whose lives have been so impacted by fear to overcome such a disabling condition. Thanks!
52. "An Anxiety Level Of 0"
I recently returned from Florida having taken your Complete Relief course. I was so happy on the flight from LAX, my family (and I) were shocked. We were rerouted for the landing and experienced a good deal of turbulence (crew was asked to be seated three times) but I had an anxiety level of 0 - really! I couldn't believe it!!!!
When I happily left the plane, the crew asked how I'd done to which I replied - great! The copilot asked, "Even with all that stuff at the end?" I replied that I just figured he knew what he was doing and turbulence wasn't a problem.
For the return flight I had trouble believing it would be as good and got a little caught up "in my own movie" because of a long drive to the airport, terrible weather, and being seated in the exit row. I made more use of the exercises on the way home, but I survived the stress of an aborted take-off and turbulence again. I'd say my anxiety level stayed close to 1.
When I left the plane the pilot stopped me and gave me a gold star sticker for a great flight. (This was cute as I teach and am usually the sticker giver.)
Best of all I took both flights without a tranquilizer, and I'm thinking comfortably about another flight. I just upgraded to the DVD course so I can have access to a tune up before my next flight.
Thank you for your wonderful program and all your research and concern for the nervous flyer. I can't tell you how wonderful it was to fly without panicky, terrified feelings. This has made such an unbelievably immense difference!!!!!
51. " Actually Enjoyed The Flight"
I flew a few weeks ago by myself, and actually sat in the EXIT ROW! I would not have and have not accepted an exit row seat for a very long time, because I considered myself "disabled" by my fear of flying, and certainly of no possible use to anyone in an emergency. But that's how good the flight out was for me.
The flight home was what I needed to write you about. I didn't just 'not have a bad flight,' I actually ENJOYED the flight. I moved from my aisle seat to the available window seat, and watched the country roll out below me.
I marveled at amazing cloud formations, and just generally the miracle of flight - that I could wake up in Atlanta with my darling sister, and go to sleep that night with my husband in California. It was a serious breakthrough for me. Just a beautiful flight, and SO WELL PILOTED, that I had no discomfort in my ears at all - the descent was that artfully managed by your brother pilots at AirTran.
Every time I write you one of these notes, I imagine it will be my last, but it just keeps getting better.
50. "If I Can Fly I Can Do Anything"
I just knew for sure that any airplane that I flew on would crash and I would die. No doubt about it so I refused to fly anywhere for 26 years. But truly, from the bottom of my heart, thanks to the SOAR program my life has changed and I am living my life more fully. It showed me that I could go back to school and I will begin my senior year this fall and am majoring in Psychology. So SOAR not only helped me to fly, it has helped me in other areas of my life. By the way I am still getting into elevators; and it just goes to show that I can fly, I can fly and if I can fly I can do anything.
49. Adventure Of A Lifetime
I am writing to thank you again for all of the work you do for us 'Fear of Flying' people. We really couldn't do it without you and your extensive information.
I went into the library this time and absorbed as much info as I could pertaining to my phobias. The articles about letting children cry themselves to sleep and the feeling of being separated from the earth, really hit home to me for whatever reason. It made so much sense to me.
I drove three hours to the airport and I was nervous because I wasn't nervous. My husband dropped me at the door and I was on my own. It could have been very scary to me, at first I was a little weak in the knees. As I began to go through the maze, I all of a sudden said, I am on an adventure of a lifetime. It was such a feeling of freedom to me. The flight on JetBlue, was incredible. Usually when I start to go down the ramp to the airplane, I start to panic. There was no panic. I was able to sit in the front and they have lots of leg room. I have finally reached my ultimate goal, to fly by myself.
I cannot thank you enough, your knowledge and information has help me to open up to a lot of new things. I can never thank you enough. I will be forever grateful to you for really caring for us enough to get us through this fear.
48. "I Can't Believe I Want To Fly Again Instead Of Just Being Relieved I Am On The Ground"
I wanted to let you know I have just done a trip from Sydney to Melbourne and back.
After watching the DVDs and practicing the Strengthening Exercise I chose to fly and did it without fear, drugs or alcohol.
In the last 22 years I have flown over 50 times internationally in terror and sometimes cancelled at the last minute due to fear which made me turn to jelly. I must say it felt a bit strange not being on a plane and not terrified but now I know I can do it an enormous weight has been lifted of my shoulders.
I am flying to L.A.on the 12th Nov. and instead of dreading it and not knowing whether I will even get on the plane, I am looking forward to it.
I can't believe I WANT to fly again instead of just being relieved I am on the ground.
This has made such a difference - THANKS!!!
47. "A Full Night's Sleep"
For many years, over a decade, I couldn't sleep for weeks before a flight. The night before the flight, I was struck by shear terror. I have never done anything I was more afraid of. But after a few sessions and a willingness to fly, once I was on the plane, it became boring. My last flight was the first flight where there and back, the night before I got a full night's sleep and actually found myself enjoying the flight.
If you described this a few years ago, I would have also taken the odds that the Melts and the Jets had just had winning seasons. It took some time but now I fly (dare I say it) with ease.
My mantra - listen to Tom and also meet the pilot (I've flown at least a dozen times since talking with him and each time, each way I met the pilot)
Regards and happy flying
46. A "Smashing Success"
Yesterday I took my very first plane trip (from southern CA to northern CA) and, thanks to you and your program, it was a smashing success. Maybe smashing isn't the best choice of words for this!
I used your technique before boarding and it got me to walk (although zombie like) onto the plane. Once the plane took off, I was amazed how well I felt. I only needed the in-flight technique once. I even sat by the window and watched it all...take off, mid flight and landing and was fine!
What helped me most of all was all your logic about how safe planes are today. I knew nothing of all the backup systems and how accidents beget corrections so they don't happen again, etc. And your answering personal questions really helped immensely.
I honestly don't believe I could have done this without you. I am 60 years old and had no intention of ever flying. Now a whole new world has been opened up to me.
I just got off the phone with my daughter and we are planning a flying trip together. I am amazed.
I must also add that I am claustrophobic, but being next to the window helped a lot, rather than trying to pretend I was on a bus as a friend recommended.
And the slight turbulence I felt didn't phase me because of your assurance that planes are built for turbulence, and that inspecting a plane after turbulence will reveal no signs of damage because they are made for this.
Thank you, more than words can say,
45. "Anxiety Zero - I Couldn't Believe It"
I recently returned from Florida having taken your Complete Relief course. I was so happy on the flight from LAX, my family (and I) were shocked. Meeting the copilot made a huge difference and he and the stewardess couldn't have been nicer or more compassionate. During the flight I explained everything about the flight and plane to my family, looked out the window for the first time in years, felt relaxed - even happy.
We were rerouted for the landing and experienced a good deal of turbulence(crew was asked to be seated three times) but I had an anxiety level of 0 - really! I couldn't believe it!!!!
When I happily left the plane, the crew asked how I'd done to which I replied - great! The copilot asked, "even with all that stuff at the end?" I replied that I just figured he knew what he was doing and turbulence wasn't a problem.
For the return flight I had trouble believing it would be as good and got a little caught up "in my own movie" because of a long drive to the airport, terrible weather, and being seated in the exit row. (Our travel agent never does this - and I didn't know until I got home that my husband had made the request.)
I had re-watched some of the videos at the hotel the day before and met the copilot and pilot before we flew. They again were wonderfully understanding (and curious about the program). I made more use of the exercises on the way home, but I survived the stress of an aborted take-off and turbulence again. I'd say my anxiety level stayed close to 1.
When I left the plane the pilot stopped me and gave me a gold star sticker for a great flight. (This was cute as I teach and am usually the sticker giver.)
Best of all I took both flights without a tranquilizer, and I'm thinking comfortably about another flight. I just upgraded to the DVD course so I can have access to a tune-up before my next flight.
Thank you for your wonderful program and all your research and concern for the nervous flyer. I can't tell you how wonderful it was to fly without panicky, terrified feelings. This has made such an unbelievably immense difference!!!!!
44. Just Back From Japan
Dear Captain Tom,
Just another flight update for you, since I am so proud of my ability to fly now, thanks to you and SOAR and my own determination. My husband and I just returned from a week in Japan, on a company-sponsored trip. No way was I going to pass that up! The plane was a nice big Boeing 777, and we had a nice flight for 13 hours to Tokyo. Since this was by far the longest flight I've taken since completing your course, I did have a few moments of nervousness with some of the turbulence. Each time I fly, though, it gets easier and easier to quell the anxiety, as I just think about the "jello" comparison, etc.
I think one the greatest "by-products" of your course, is that this process of "rewiring" affects every other area of life. For example, while in Japan, I was able to do many things that I also would have avoided, such as take the famous Bullet train ("too fast, it will fly off of the tracks!!"), or take a crowded Tokyo subway ("what if it stops underground and there is no air?"), or went up in the sky to the top of Tokyo Tower in a packed elevator up almost 1000 feet ("OMG, what if a famous Japan earthquake hits and this topples over??")!
Not only was there no anxiety, it was actually a blast. Even my husband, who has never had these kinds of fears or anxieties, was not able to make it to the top of the Tokyo Tower, and I was! I really did try not to be too smug...
It was great to have fun for a change, and not spend half of the time in anticipatory anxiety states. Remember, as a great Greek Philosopher once said, those who fear death are actually afraid of truly living, or something like that.
Every trip I make now, I mentally thank you for giving me the tools to truly start living and enjoying this beautiful world.
43. "Best Flights I've Had In A Long Time"
Dear Capt Tom.
I want to let you know I took a flight last Wednesday to Salt Lake City which had thunderstorms forecasted and a return flight the next night(thunderstorms that day, too) to San Jose. These were the best flights I've had in a long time.
Usually if I saw thunder in a forecast I'd be irritable and stressed to the point my wife would avoid me. I still had anxiety and fear but was so much more attuned to my own movie then before. I stayed in the now and countered my tension by not allowing myself to react to unexpected bumps. I'd tense up but recognize the bump for what it was, not what it might be. I need to finish all the videos but I'm very optimistic I'm on the right track. -
42. Emailed From Peru
I never had a chance to write a testimony, but your course helped me a lot. . . . I am now a happy flyer. I look forward to trips, take along the family, and enjoy. Before that, I remember leaving a file at my home desk with instructions in case I died!
You know, some kind of brain re-wiring takes place with this cognitive approach you use. I know this because now, when I WANT to experience anticipatory anxiety, I can´t. I try to feel it but I can´t. I may get a bit nervous or uncomfortable in heavy turbulence, but I am now sort of immune to anticipatory anxiety. How could this happen? A re-wiring of my brain I suppose.
Anyhow, this Airbus accident touches me no more than news from an earthquake in a distant location (I live in Lima, a very seismic region): I feel sad and compassionate, but no more afraid of quakes than before. In fact I am going to London for a holiday trip in three weeks with wife and two kinds.
Still, I believe I would like to know what happened here because it is just so improbable for this to occur.
Regards and thank you!!
41. "Amazed How Much Easier It Was That I Anticipated"
I just got back from my long weekend trip from Hartford to BWI. I was amazed how much easier it was than I anticipated it to be! The takeoff will still take some getting used to for me but once we were in the air and cruising it was a breeze (no pun intended)!
On the way to BWI, I looked out the window when we were approaching the runway, but on the way back to Hartford I got the courage to look out the window when we were at cruising altitude! It was spectacular days both days for flying and only minimal turbulence on the way to Baltimore.
I did make a point to meet the captain before the flight to BWI and I would say it definitely helped. He was very friendly and took a great amount of his time to talk to me and show me the weather report on the computer and explain the general flight plan/path. We also talked about some general information about the airplane that I was going to fly on.
I can now picture myself one day going to Las Vegas or California or Texas, etc. Thanks again, and please share my story if you wish to!!
40. "A Transformation Took Place That I Still Find Hard To Believe"
In June O7 our son, Matthew, moved to London U.K, to take on a new exciting job. My wife wanted to celebrate our 35th Anniversary by visiting him and his wife in London and then visit Ireland. Because of my fear of flying I was MOST resistant to going. To say my resistance was massive would not be an exaggeration. It was the source of great angst in our home.
I saw a psychologist (for three sessions) She concluded that there was NO WAY I was going to go and that I should bow out. As plans were made and tickets purchased I had to "bite the bullet" and go. Reluctantly I started to follow your SOAR program and viewed the 4 "Control Of Anxiety" DVD's.
A transformation took place that I still find hard to believe. (I had flown before on several occasions but always
anxiously and never out of North America. Also I should add that I never felt comfortable even BEING in an airport).
Interestingly, while the exercises were helpful - especially those dealing with 'anticipatory anxiety' - it was your wise and direct response to my concerns that made the difference. Your e-mail of April 8 stayed with me; you said and I quote " Again, you are looking to get YOUR relief from anxiety by perfection, which doesn't exist, not only in flying, but anywhere." That one sentence gave me a whole new perspective on my "plight''!
Incidentally, I did make a point of meeting the Air Canada pilots before our flight from Ottawa. They were just great and happy to talk with me. When we arrived at Heathrow the flight attendant said they wanted to see me to find out how things had gone. They confirmed all the positive things you said about pilots.
We had a memorable two weeks in London, Dublin and Galway. I can honestly say that for the first time in my life I feel relaxed about the whole concept of flying and Tom, I have you to thank. I can't thank you enough for the remarkable impact of your intervention. It has been a life changing experience. My wife and I are now jointly planning another visit in 2010!
39. "So Relaxed That I Napped Both Ways"
I have a confession to make. After watching all your DVD's and practicing the strengthening exercises, I honestly thought that it wouldn't work, that it was just too simple. I was wrong. I just flew round trip from Long Beach, CA, to Washington Dulles. I was so relaxed that I napped both ways, and dared to go to the restroom! I was calm throughout, despite a fair amount of turbulence on one leg. The combination of the educational material about planes and flying, and the strengthening exercises really did make a difference. Thank you so much.
38. "I Feel So Confident"
I spoke with you on the phone about 3 weeks ago. I was taking a trip to Africa -- specifically, Egypt and Kenya. I was taking 5 flights in sum (4 on British Airways and 1 on Egyptair). We spoke for a bit about what I could do to get through these.
I just wanted to update you to let you know that I'm home now and survived all of these flights (of course) and had a wonderful trip. British Airways is, hands down, the best airline I have ever traveled on. Egyptair was great, too. By the third flight, I was not taking any of my usual Ativan and instead imagined, upon takeoff, that I was the pilot and could control the plane. This was something you had suggested I do. It really worked! By the fifth flight (the one home), the whole flying thing was a non-event. Now I want to try flying again because I feel so confident!
Thank you for your wonderful work.
37. "My Therapist Thinks The Program Is Brilliant"
Posted on the SOAR Forum at this link.
"I have to tell you that I have found the SOAR program helpful in other areas of my life. I am in treatment for generalized anxiety disorder and use many of the techniques and concepts in areas other than flying. My therapist thinks the program is brilliant. Thanks so much for your help."
36. "A Huge Difference In My Life"
You have given me all the right tools and, as I'm sure you would have predicted, we made it safe and sound, albeit after a long, unexplained delay.
There was some turbulence and I actually laughed because as soon as the fasten seat belt sign came on, who should walk out of the cockpit and into the restroom but the pilot! Then he and the flight attendant stood around talking -- while the plane was (seemingly, though my bottle of water told me otherwise) bouncing around -- as if they were on solid ground.
Other than a brief thought that I wished he were in the cockpit in case anything really did go wrong, I actually found the whole thing pretty amusing thinking about your course and actually seeing first hand how you were right on about what the pilots do and think during turbulence.
Thank you for your program, your frequent updates, and your kindness and understanding. I know so many people tell you this, but let me also say again that you have made a huge difference in my life!
35. "I Have No Fear At All"
I actually almost enjoy flying now. It is incredible. I have come to a point where I can actually reflect on the fear itself and where it comes from . . . .
I am flying again tomorrow, just a one hour flight. I have no fear at all. I always peek in at the cockpit and greet the pilots if they are there. I watch the crew do their job in a completely fearless manner. I feel more relaxed than ever. I hope it lasts. Thanks for your updates. It helps.
34. None As Effective
I have to tell you that I've been to a few different therapists over the course of my life for different reasons, but none of their methods were ever as specifically, let alone quickly effective in dealing with a fear or problem, as SOAR was. And the amazing thing was, not only did it fix my fear of flying, which was a huge thing, but the positive results spilled over into other fear/areas of my life that had nothing to do with flying.
The only thing in my life that comes close in a positive way, was when I finally got rid of my stage fright. But that took years, and to be honest, to this day I really don't understand how I did it; I just kind of lucked into some neurological adjustment for that one specific thing somehow.
33. Huge Improvement
I wanted to let you know that I flew yesterday and had my best flight in years. It definitely wasn't fear-free, as I didn't quite have enough time to practice the strengthening exercise, and I didn't do it quite right, as I discovered when I spoke to you--I needed to do much more detail in Phase 2. But it was a HUGE improvement--my anxiety level was about a 2 on a scale of 1 to 10, at the worst, compared to a full-blown panic attack the week before. We hit extended turbulence, and I slept through it. (!!) All in all, a big success!!
I'm flying again tomorrow (to Iceland, this time) and will practice some more tonight. But I'm going into it with so much more confidence than I had a week ago--it's amazing.
I was fairly skeptical going into this because I have a diagnosed anxiety/panic disorder that I get treatment for, and I've had extended mindfulness-based stress reduction training, but my usual coping tricks weren't working at all on planes. So you definitely exceeded my expectations!! Don't know if you know much about mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), but it is quite similar in some ways to some of the things you are talking about in your program--it's just that I got into such a panic on airplanes that I wasn't able to use the techniques to stabilize. But I found that yesterday, I could--because your exercise focuses on preventing the panic in the first place.
32. "Words Can Not Describe The Joy"
Capt., I just wanted to thank you for everything you did for me and everyone else...Words can not describe the joy you have given me by making it possible for me to fly to places all of the world....We just got back from Hawaii, a 12 hour flight....Thanks again ...
31. Conservative Planning
I'm very thankful for your course, which I ordered a couple of months ago. I've taken three flights since then, and enjoyed each one of them, something I haven't been able to say in many years. I'm writing today because I have a story that I think might be helpful to the folks you work with...
On today's flight (an American flight from SEA to JFK), I had your printed invitation in hand, but didn't need it, because the pilots were standing together and chatting at the gate before they boarded. I just walked over to them and explained that I was an anxious flyer. Not only were they understanding and reassuring, they invited me to come visit them in the cockpit when I boarded the plane. So I did (the flight attendants were happy
to accommodate me).
I really couldn't believe these guys. They took me through their pre-flight procedures, answering all my questions. They chatted and joked and poked fun at each other, with no hint that in 15 minutes they were going to fly a few hundred people and a quarter million pounds of airplane across the country.
But here's what really struck me. The captain showed me that the flight plan that was provided for them included not just all the coordinates required to get to JFK, but also the headings to two alternate airports -- Logan in Boston and also Syracuse. He said that they had enough fuel on board to allow him to circle JFK for an hour, make an approach, decide they didn't like the weather, then go to either of the alternate airports and circle for an hour there if need be!
You talk in your course about redunancy in the mechanical equipment, but I had no idea that the flight plan had such redundancy too. The forecast was just for light rain at JFK (and in fact we landed right on time at JFK), so it amazed me that the airline would go to all the trouble and expense (it must cost a lot to fly with all that extra fuel) for the incredibly unlikely scenario they'd have to land somewhere else.
It would have been hard not to feel comfortable on today's flight, knowing that I was in the hands of two pilots like that, and backed up by such conservative planning. Turbulence usually unsettles me, but when the "fasten
seat belt" sign came on today, I knew that matters were well in hand. I even took the opportunity to get some sleep!
30. "I Feel So Liberated"
Hi Capt. Tom - I did it AGAIN!!! Yah! After flying to Boston last month, I flew to Las Vegas this past weekend and had a wonderful time! My husband and 3 teenagers continue to be amazed at how calm I do on the flights and beforehand with little to no anxiety. I have written to you over the years since taking your course in 2002 and I feel so liberated each and every time I fly now (it had been 14 years since I had flown before I found your class in 2002) - I would have never been able to do this had it not been for your course so a whole new world has been opened to me. This time coming back from LV, I looked out the window almost the entire time from LV to Orlando - I truly enjoyed seeing the countryside - very interesting watching the desert and seeing the mountains and then watching the landscape turn into lush green and seeing the farmlands. When we hit turbulence I noticed my water cup on my tray was barely moving if at all and just thought of myself as driving down a country road. As always I met the pilots beforehand and they were nice as can be.
29. First Flight In Thirty-Nine Years
Tom- I just wanted to say " Thank you!" This past weekend I flew for the first time in thirty-nine years. I was somewhat nervous on my first flight from NY to St. Louis, mostly with anticipatory anxiety. But, you're right. Once I was on the plane I was really fine. I couldn't believe that I actually didn't think about the trip back once while I was away. Getting on the plane to come back to NY was no problem at all.
I actually thought I was beyond help and would never be able to get on a plane but now I can't wait to make plans for another trip. Unbelievable! Thank you again.
28. " . . . Your Program Works."
My flight was good. A lot of turbulence coming home but I just remembered what your cd's said about that and no problem . Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I leave for Hawaii in a week and feel like I will be ok. I will tell anyone that has had a bad experience with flying or is scared to fly that your program works.
You can use me for a testimony any time. Thanks again for your time talking to me and for the requested material. You were a prayer answered and am so happy I found your website.
27. Europe In Spring
Dear Capt. Tom,
Two years ago in Spring, 2007, I had the opportunity to fly to France to visit my son who was studying abroad in Nice, but I could not make the trip due to my anxieties about flying. My husband and daughter made the trip without me, and the three of them experienced a vacation in Europe together. I, of course, was devastated that I could not go with them and so disappointed with myself for not being able to fly.
My problem was claustrophobia and the fear of panicking on the plane because of it. I had not flown for over 15 years. After I missed that trip with my family I was determined to be ready to fly when my daughter had her study abroad semester in Spring, 2009, and my search for help began. I found the SOAR Program and began my journey toward flying to Europe at that point. I ordered the complete program and with the encouragement of my family, completed every DVD, CD, read every word of every hand out and SOAR newsletter, had a counseling session with you, practiced my strengthening exercises and by November, 2008 was ready to take my "practice flight."
My husband and I flew from Maryland to New Hampshire and back in one day - calling my kids in France from the airport (they couldn't believe I had actually flown to New Hampshire). The whole experience was fine. I couldn't believe how comfortable I was throughout the whole process - from making the arrangements to fly, through the boarding area to the actual flight. In the past all I had to do was think about making arrangements to fly and I was on my way to a panicked state.
After that "practice flight", I took a break from my SOAR prep for a couple of months, but by late January, 2009, it was time to begin planning for my goal - my flight to Europe in Spring, 2009. I reviewed all my SOAR materials, had another counseling session with you, practiced my strengthening exercises - all while excitedly making arrangements to fly to Europe for my long awaited family vacation. I couldn't believe that I was making flight plans, arranging hotels, and planning sightseeing excursions with a true sense of happy anticipation and excitement.
Well, flight day arrived and we flew from Baltimore to London where we met our kids. We stayed in London for 3 days and took the train (through the Chunnel - another feat for someone with claustrophobia) to Paris. We stayed in Paris for 3 days (even visited St. Chappelle's breathtaking stained glass chapel which you suggested) and took the train to Nice where we stayed for 6 days taking day trips to Monaco and Italy. It was wonderful!!! On Mother's Day we flew from Nice to London and then from London back home to Baltimore. The flight over was an overnight flight which left after dark which I was a bit concerned about as I like to look out the window to the "wide open spaces", but it was no problem at all - even when we had to circle Heathrow for an extra 45 minutes before landing due to fog. I was calm and relaxed during the entire flight. The return flights were also no problem for me. I was able to watch a movie, read a magazine, listen to music without anxiety.
I was relating this to a friend who knew of my past anxieties with flying and she asked, "Do you think that program really had anything to do with it?" I thought to myself, "I think that program had EVERYTHING to do with it!" After the SOAR course, I felt so well prepared, so well educated, and so ready to go. I truly felt I had the tools in place to handle any anxiety I might feel during flying, and I think knowing that allowed me to fly WITHOUT anxiety.
Capt. Tom, I can't thank you enough for helping me to gain this ability - to be able to fly without anxiety and fear of panic. It gives me a freedom that I never thought I'd have, and I can now allow myself to dream of other places that I'd love to visit with a sense of actually making those dreams a reality. As we were taxiing to take off from Heathrow on our return flight to the States, I looked out the window of the plane and said to my husband, "Well, I guess this is goodby to Europe." He looked and me and said, "Why? You can fly now." And I can.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart,
26. Won Six Trips And Now Able To Take One
Hi Captain Tom, and my SOAR friends,
I have just returned from a one week, all expense-paid company trip to beautiful Half Moon Resort in Jamaica. This was not only my first time to the Caribbean, but the first time I have gone on one of my company's Presidents Club trips! I have won six of these types of trips, but have never gone, because of my fear of flying. Of course, it was always embarrassing, at the company awards dinners, when it would be announced, that as one of the top producers, I had won a fabulous trip to Bahamas, Punta Cana, etc., and knew, as did everyone else, that I would not be going!
Anyway, after your course, and some real soul searching, I was able to participate in joining my colleagues for some fun and relaxation in one of the most gorgeous places I've seen so far, and I expect to see many more!! I cannot thank you enough.
25. First Flight In Thirty-five Years
We just returned from a week in Texas. I flew from Minneapolis to Houston on a CRJ 900 plane without a bit of trouble. I was a bit surprised to see my first flight in thirty-five years was going to be on a smaller plane, but I couldn't be happier with the results!
The take off and landing were a piece of cake! Even a little turbulence came as no surprise to me and I knew the plane could handle it.
I can't believe I missed out on flying all these years. I am now a FLYER and looking forward to doing it again!
Thank you, thank you, thank you! You have changed my life!
24. First Flight After SOAR
When flying has been difficult for years, it is hard to believe the SOAR Course can make it different. It does, but that first trip after completing SOAR can cause anxiety. Some bite the bullet and take whatever flight they had planned. Some ease into it by going up in a light plane at a local airport. Some take a short flight on an airliner, as the writer of this email did.
Flew from San Francisco to Irvine today, as a prep flight for my trip to Asia next week.
Was a little nervous at first and calmed down during the flight after ascent. Markedly different. I kept wondering when I was going to get nervous, it never happened.
The biggest difference I noticed was during descent. We were passing through clouds and I wanted it to be different than it was in the past - where I'd white-knuckle it through the bumps.
This time I closed my eyes and imagined myself on my father's fishing boat, speeding through the Everglades and, feeling for the "bumps" in the air (the ups and down you mention in the DVD) and it felt eerily similar so Lake Okeechobee much so that I stayed in that moment to test my idea and I'll be damned if it didn't feel exactly the same. Oh and I wasn't worried in the least, I was just "there".
Also I did not feel a huge sense of relief after getting off the plane. I actually wanted the flight to be longer to test myself more. I'm looking forward to my return trip on Sunday - hopefully there will be more turbulence??
Thanks so much.
23. Story Of A Great Achievement
Dear Capt. Tom,
Around my 30th birthday, I was under some severe stress in my personal life - job, grad school, etc. - and I started suffering from anxiety. I was to the point where I could hardly drive a car and there was no way that I was ever going to fly again. About 8 years later, I was in a situation where I was going to have to fly or admit to someone that I was scared to death and admit to that embarrassment. I found your website and subscribed to your newsletter, and then I purchased your Control of Anxiety DVD. The situation passed and I didn't have to fly, so I breathed a sigh of relief and put the DVD away without viewing it. I did however continue to read your newsletters and would jump in the chat room every once in a while.
In January, a family friend called me and offered to cover my airfare if I would travel to Paris with them and assist them as their translator/tour guide. I immediately jumped at the chance. When I hung up the telephone, I got that knot in my stomach again worrying about the flights. About 15 minutes later, I received an email from a classmate passing along the sad news of a death of another of our classmates. She dropped dead in her kitchen from complications due to a sled riding accident. She was 39 years old. After that, I was determined to get on that plane and fly to Paris.
I began to re-read the newsletters that I had saved and began to pop on and off your site again. I still had the DVD, but I was not ready to watch it yet. Soon April rolled around and I realized that it was the day before the trip and I still had not watched the DVD. I was afraid that facing my anxiety so close to the trip might upset me more, so I just decided to get on that plane armed with the information that you passed along to me over the past two years.
When we pulled into the airport, I felt the sweat begin to form in my palms just because I was at the airport. I calmed myself down with the counting exercises. Then I had to fly from Columbus to Toronto, CA, in a Bombardier Dash 8. We were delayed a bit because the weather in Toronto had become a little nasty. While I was waiting, the Buffalo incident kept popping up in my mind. I did have a very small amount of xanax in me (half a pill of the lower dose), but I controlled my anxiety and got onto that plane. I listened to the plane as it took off and took note of the sounds throughout the flight. It helped a lot and I made it to Toronto without any fear.
When it was time for the flight to Paris, they stopped us at the last minute to de-ice the plane. The "old me" would have gotten nervous as the anxiety would have built due to the delay. Again, I remained calm. When the plane took off, I again listened to the sounds and knew what each sound meant. That helped me tremendously. I was able to relax and watch the in-flight entertainment. When I got off the plane, I emailed my family and told them that I had a "great" flight.
The return flight from Paris to Toronto was fine. As we were taking off, the lady next to me had tears in her eyes. I wasn't sure if it was because she was scared or because she was sad that she was leaving Paris. Then I saw her wringing her hands and fiddling with the earphones that they passed out. I felt badly for her, but then I realized that I was the calm one sitting there reading an article in a magazine. That made me feel really good.
Now...the best part of the trip (sarcasm there) ...my flight from Toronto to Columbus on a Bombardier Dash 8 in bad turbulence. I get car sick and bus sick very easily. I make frequent trips on bumpy rural roads that make me so sick that I want to throw up. This flight was 3 times worse than any of those bus rides. I remained calm during the whole flight. I kept thinking about us being pulled through jello and kept watching the movement of the soda in my Diet Coke bottle.
I noticed that a few people were getting unnerved. I thought to myself, "Thank goodness for Captain Tom because if I would have been in this situation 10 years ago, I would have been freaking out and having a severe panic attack." On that day, I just had to worry about throwing up from the air sickness.
Thank you so much for your assistance. Now...if I can just be able to drive over bridges and drive on highways by myself, I will be totally healed. I think that I am going to break out the DVD and work on that next.
Once again, thank you for helping me be able to have another chance to enjoy Paris right before my 40th birthday. It has been a long 10 years, but I am finally allowing myself to enjoy life again.
22."It Really Helped"
Last Wednesday we got back from Las Vegas and I have to say that it was probably the first time that I really took time to enjoy the flight! I kept re-reading the steps you gave me and kept replaying our conversation in my head. It really helped. We had light turbulence going to Vegas but I just kept telling myself that this was normal!
My next challenge will be to fly over the ocean....I am not there yet, but I know that I will want to face that fear too!
Thanks so much for taking the time to help me.
21. " . . . Much More Relaxed And Enjoyable . . . "
Thanks for all of your great help over the last four years. I now work remotely in Sacramento and travel by air at least once or twice a month to LA for meetings. I made twenty-two flights in the last year including attending President Obama's inauguration in Washington DC from Sacramento CA. All were done without any anticipatory anxiety and a much more relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere.
The service you offer has changed my life significantly and I have a sense of freedom to travel and see things I never thought I would see.
20. Hours Of Turbulence And "I Read My Magazines . . ."
Good Morning Capt. Tom,
I recently returned from my vacation out west, and wanted to share with you how excited I am about my experience. I had two flights in the course of five days, and both were entirely uneventful for me.
Before I left, I knew that I should trust that the things I had learned in the course would get me through. I had a nice feeling of calm leading up to my first flight, where normally I would have been sick with anticipatory anxiety. Turns out we flew on a very turbulent day. Early in the flight, the captain let us know that there would be moderate turbulence for the full five hours (his words). He wasn't kidding! But, I read my magazines and used my word puzzles to stay in the moment and things were fine. My husband, who had watched the videos with me, and I talked through everything that happened as it happened. Even with an incredibly rough landing - I was no different from any other passenger on that flight. No panicking!
Then we were graced with a remarkably smooth flight on the way home - I've never had such a smooth flight. It was beautiful. I didn't have a moment's worry. We also upgraded to first class, which is lovely.
I hope that my husband and I will be traveling more now. I expect that I will continue to work on the exercises and build my strength, but I am thrilled at how far I have come. I cannot thank you enough for how you have helped me, and there are just not words to describe my gratitude.
19. Turbulence And "I Did The 5-4-3-2-1 Several Times . . ."
Just wanted to let you know that I completed your course.
(I should probably preface this with telling you that I have been flying 2 - 4 times per year for as long as I can remember. But Sept 11 was the turning point where my imagination started taking over and anxiety magnified to the point that I was considering giving up family trips to avoid flying. )
I was confident and ready to fly, booked a flight, then turned on the TV to hear about the Miracle on the Hudson. I kept doing my strengthening exercises, went on your blog . . . and told myself I had to get up in the air.
I just returned from my trip last night. I flew from Milwaukee to Atlanta. My 10 year-old son was very intrigued by the cockpit so when the copilot asked us if we wanted to peak in, I was able to tell him about my situation. He was very helpful I had some anxiety with turbulence. I did the 5-4-3-2-1 several times and got through the flight with no anti-anxiety meds!!!!
Then flew Atlanta to Miami with less anxiety than the first flight! I was very proud of myself! Then turned on the TV only to hear about the tragedy of the Buffalo Continental flight. My imagination started to take control and then I read your email with your comments on the accident. I knew I had to get back on the plane to get home so I worked through my thoughts and told myself to accept flying for what it is. I am also a Christian and prayed asking God for relief from all my imaginative thoughts and ask him to help me "fly with my left brain". It really does help to keep the left brain busy....between magazines, reading to my son, and
scrabble, I had no time for my imagination to take over.
Thank you for your DVDs. I have another flight to Florida in two weeks. Rest assured I will continue my exercises.
18. A Client In Buffalo
First of all I wanted to thank you for your prompt and caring phone call to me in Buffalo, New York a couple months ago.
It is clear you have the highest professionalism and concern for your clients and people who suffer from fear of flying. The mere fact you took the time to contact me personally helped relieve my anxiety significantly.
Since we talked, my city (Buffalo, New York) experienced the worst plane disaster in its history with Flight 3407. Initially, the crash so close to home jarred my confidence in my ability to overcome fear of flying (especially since I could see the smoke rising from the crash site the next day from my office window).
However, with repeated application of your course materials and continued reapplication of the strengthening exercise (which you helped explain to me) I believe I have overcome the jarring from this incident and I am back on course to recovery.
After all, I thought, would I not get into my car because my neighbor's car got into a crash (which is what I effectively was initially thinking in response to the Buffalo crash---feeling that there must be something not safe about planes because one I was not on either malfunctioned or crashed for whatever reason).
Then I began to realize that there is no relationship whatsoever because Flight 3407 and any plane I have ever flown on. The circumstances surrounding Flight 3407 are unique and have nothing to do with any other flight I've flown on. In fact, I've never even flown on the model that crashed, I've flown repeatedly in those icy conditions (hard not to in Buffalo) without harm, and in almost 100 years of air travel Buffalo, New York, has never had any similar crash fatality (or any since Flight 3407).
17. Flying After Thirteen Years
Dear Captain Tom,
After 13 years of refusing to fly due to intense fear, I did it! I was skeptical because I thought I was just too terrified and would never fly again.
I missed many trips. I live on the east coast. My parents were born and raised in Brazil. My mother died when I was a child, which I've learned had everything to do with my fear of flying. My mom's family lives in LA. I have not been able to visit them. My father really wanted me to go to Brazil with him and unfortunately he passed away and that opportunity passed me by.
My husband travels to really nice places for work related things and I've missed several good trips to nice resorts. Last year, while my husband was in Key West and I was at home, I decided I was not letting life pass me by anymore.
Last week, I DID IT! I flew to Ft. lauderdale, FL with my husband and it was wonderful. The strengthening exercise was the key for me. But learning about the importance of feeling connection has helped me tremendously...and not just for flying.
I felt some anticipatory anxiety. But on travel day, I felt very comfortable. On the return trip I was a little nervous but it did not escalate. I'm flying to LA in June.
Then I began to further realize that much (if not all) of my fear of flying was related to perceived or imagined circumstances and anticipatory anxiety. I was actually spending much of my time either worrying about some circumstance that had nothing to do with reality, was worrying I would worry, or felt that if I let my guard down and stopped worrying something bad would happen (as if my internal anxiety could affect the performance of any airplane or pilot on any flight I was on).
I will continue persisting in efforts toward recovery and, thanks to your help, I say "bring it on" for my next flight.
Thank you again.
16. First Flight In Twenty Years
I flew to Puerto Rico last week and returned last night. That was my first time flying in over 20 years and it was fantastic. American Airlines was wonderful in Business Class, the flights were perfectly smooth and we arrived 45 minutes early last night at Kennedy!!!
Thanks for all your help!
15. On And Off For Twenty-five Years
Dear Capt. Tom,
I just had to write and say thank you for your SOAR program. I have been an on again off again flyer for 25 years. I started your program in August and not only has it helped with my flying but it has helped with my life in general. We just returned today from taking our daughter to Disney World for a long week-end and the flights both ways were great. I was completely relaxed and I think its because for the last few months I have been living my life in a "what is" frame of mind and not a "what if". I deal in the here and now and that keeps my imagination in check. I am looking forward to my next flight in May.
14. Renewed Faith
Hi Cap'n Tom,
...we each live with a certain level of need for control, reassurance, and escape...and these unsettling times can easy make us wonder "if we can't control our jobs, our savings, our futures, how are we going to control our feelings in a situation we've felt panic during in the past like airports or on planes". Well - we can. You've taught us that we can. But we sometimes lose our faith that we can.
I offer you a phrase I saw on a church marquee this month. I wrote it down and have it posted now above my computer. "Faith is the ability to not panic". Yes. They have it exactly right. And now, going through the market changes and panicked reactions across the U.S. and the world, I look up at the planes overhead and feel resentment and jealousy - I'm mad that I CAN'T go on vacation because we need to save up money "just in case" the economy turns worse. I want to be that person in the air leaving that awesome trail in the sky...but just now the priority is watching finances...every penny counts.
I have faith though - faith that I will again be up there flying to my dream destination and taking that well deserved vacation. I also know that if I lose my faith...if I stop putting in to my 401K out of panic of the market, if I cancel another vacation because the unemployment rate went up, or if I actually do get to travel and I have anxiety in flight then it's OK. I am not perfect, but it's in the trying that I get stronger, and my faith will keep me trying.
Thanks for continually renewing my faith
13. "I Hope My Words Will Help Others"
For 56 years I have avoided flying. I have had severe panic attacks since I was 17 years old. People would offer to fly me to meetings and sometimes just to enjoy their plane. A mother-in-law with cancer in another country was what motivated me to look for help. I cannot tell you the thousands upon thousands of miles I have driven across this country just to avoid one of my many fears. Your course cured me! And not only that, it has helped my panic attacks by applying the same principles to my other fears. I have flown seven times this past year and actually look forward flying. Thank you for your life changing help.
I hope my words might help others. I am a minister and I tell folks of your site when ever I hear "I am afraid to fly" O by the way you can use my full name if you would like.
God bless you Tom
12. "Skeptical . . . because I've tried so many things in the past."
Hi Tom. I just made my first flight in a long time thanks to your course and practicing the exercises. I feel great.
What convinced me to go was that feeling you talk about . . ."I'm going even if it kills me." I got that feeling a few days before the flight. I was a little skeptical about the strengthening exercises working because I've tried so many things in the past, but I can say that they definitely do.
I knew what all the sounds were (luggage, speed brakes, landing gear, and so forth), felt connected with the ground when I couldn't see it, knew about the captain and co-pilot were doing, was aware about all the backup systems, actually saw a sign on the runway reading "Noise abatement after take-off" so I knew what to expect and that it was completely normal, etc. I truly felt safe. It was fun to fly.
The cabin lights went off for about a second (a few times) while we were cruising and I realized that nothing dangerous was happening. It made no impact on my brain. I had to think hard that in the past such a thing cause anxiety. My movie was just rolling along as it would with a "normal" person.
My anticipatory anxiety hit me hard a few hours before the flight. Strangely, it went away the instant I handed the boarding pass to the attendant. It also felt reassuring to touch the outside of the plane as I walked in. From then on, I was a 1 or 1.5 out of 10 on the anxiety scale. Same on the return flight the next day. I need to keep working on that. Seemingly the only problem I feel I have yet to conquer is the anticipatory anxiety.
Anyway, thanks again for your dedication to this process. The people I said I was flying to visit didn't believe me and were sure they'd get a phone call from me bailing on the whole thing. But I never came close to that point. I was going no matter what. When I walked out of the terminal they were wide-eyed to see me and couldn't believe it that after a few weeks of taking your course I was on a plane...and enjoying it.
11. After Fifteen Years
Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for your program. After 15 years, I was able to take a flight from Chicago to Florida for our 40th Anniversary and cruise!
I listened to your CD's religiously and used the exercises in the waiting area (where my anxiety was the highest.) I kept hearing your voice, which had a calming effect and followed your instruction. As you suggested, I met the captain who was so gracious and friendly that I relaxed immediately and knew I was in good and capable hands. So relaxed, in fact, that I dozed during the flight and actually got up to use the restroom. (Previously, I would never get up, I was sure I would disturb the balance of the plane!) I did use a mild sedative that really didn't kick in until we were well on our way, so I feel with the knowledge I had from your instruction and the relaxing exercises, I didn't get out of control. (I kept sharing my knowledge with my husband-how the plane worked, sounds, etc.)
My children who gave us this wonderful gift (the flight and the cruise), and who gave me the SOAR program, asked if I wanted insurance in case I couldn't get on the plane. I refused, determined I would SUCCEED, for me and for them.
So thank you again, I will be checking in on the SOAR library and message board and keep your number close at hand for my next venture. I'm sorry this is so long, but I feel GREAT - I DID IT!
10. First Flight In Nineteen Years
If you were standing here i would give you an enormous hug!!! Not a single problem encountered on my first flight in nineteen years. Flight attendants were shocked that I was a fearful flyer. I took the lowest dose possible of Ativan before heading out for the airport. I didn't really think I needed it, but decided not to be a hero and just took the damn thing, just in case.
I kept in mind a couple of things, the 54321 exercise, and never even needed to go to 4.
Remember reading about anxiety - that when some people hear a noise (me) it becomes a vision of the plane plummeting. Other people hear it, don't know what it is and go back to what they were doing.
I heard a noise. I remembered that and I decided to be the person that goes back to reading.
I read. I did a logic puzzle. I listened to my iPod. I slept. I had a soda. A tiny bit of turbulence. Pictured the plane in layers of jello.
I met the pilot. He told me he loved his job and had three kids. I asked him if he loved his kids too. He said yes. I was good.
I befriended the ticket agent, the loading agent. All were supportive. Return trip just as easy.
I am planning future trips now!!!
THANK YOU for taking all my phone calls...
9. The Difference After The SOAR Course.
Just wanted you to know, that having gone through the SOAR Course, this accident didn't bother me any more than hearing of a vehicle accident. . . . Things happen - it's part of life. My family is amazed. I am not. I am a different person when it comes to flying thanks to you and your fantastic course. I only hope that others with flying fears can reach this point. It is truly liberating.
Five years ago I was to fly with my husband for a conference and stay at a very expensive hotel. I backed out.
In November, we flew to San Juan for a thirty-fifth anniversary cruise. We cruised out of San Juan. In Dominica they have a 90 minute aerial tram through the rain forest canopy. I was excited to go on this shore excursion. We even got off the tram 1/2 way through the journey and walked across a suspension bridge, 350 feet over the gorge. I never gave it a second thought. Even leaned over and looked down. It wasn't until after we got back to the ship my husband mentioned how in the past I would have never taken that excursion or gotten off the tram to cross the bridge had I actually taken the tram. That had never occurred to me. It was then that I realized how much your course has influenced other areas of my life. What a feeling! I have missed out on so much in my life, but no more. You only go around once! My eternal thanks to you.
8. Flew Better With SOAR Than With Meds
I got an email a few days ago from a client who said, lacking full confidence, he took meds prescribed by his doctor. He had a very difficult flight when it became turbulent. On the return flight, he mistakenly placed the medication in a bag he checked. He did much better on the flight without the medication, even though the turbulence was worse.
It is easier to have more confidence in something outside yourself - a medication - than confidence in what you have built inside. I think the reason for that is simple: you can see what is outside, and thus it is more real than what you have inside, which is invisible.
Research shows that meds - when given along with a placebo, and when the people didn't know which they were given - did not do as well as those given a placebo. I think it demonstrates how important it is to keep the mind as sharp as possible, so as not to let what is in the mind get easily mistaken for reality - when it is only imagination, particularly fear-driven imagination.
7. From The President Of A Major Corporation
Hello Captain Tom!
I just wanted to let you know that, much like most of your students, I am a recovered fearful and anxious flyer. I know I told you before, but I thought that my phobia was so extreme that I would never fly. I wouldn't even talk about flying.
I took your course and after one slightly anxious flight (mainly because I didn't think the course would work) I am excited to say that I am a full fledged frequent flyer.
We recently returned from LA (from O'Hare) and now we're flying to Arizona in January, back to LA in March and then off to Hawaii in April - and I can't wait for each flight. I love it! I am actually seriously considering getting my private pilot's license.
Anyway, thank you again! I really appreciate your patience, your unique and effective program and just everything... I'm free!
6. Success After 8 Long Years
Hi Capt. Tom,
Well I have had my first flight after almost 8years. The days before our trip I reread the materials that I found helpful from the SOAR Library, and reviewed my DVD's each evening. I felt very calm the night before and slept well. That morning again I felt very calm and in control of the day ahead of me. I really didn't think I would feel so calm considering past experiences.
I kept telling myself "Experience it for what it is." "Add nothing and take nothing away."
Just before boarding we asked if there were any first class upgrades left and we lucked out with 2 available seats. Our flight out to Vegas was smooth as can be and flawless. I even managed to sleep a little. I was so happy I can't begin to tell you the freedom I felt. "Success after 8 long years".
Our flight home had a few glitches that I thought were going to get me worked up but I managed to keep composed. I was delayed 2 hours due to a closed runway in Vegas. I had pre-selected the bulkhead in July when I purchased my tickets and when we got to the gate they said that we couldn't sit there. I wasn't happy about that but still kept calm.
The flight itself was smooth going until the last 20 minutes we hit pretty rough turbulence. I could feel my heart start to beat fast but managed to get through it with slight discomfort.
Tom, the tools in this program were such a help to me and all the info that you provide are what helped me make this huge step. I will continue to follow up to enhance my skills to overcome my fear. Thank You so much for the emails and helping me to get started in the program.
5. I Truly Enjoy The Flights Now!
Dear Capt Tom,
Just a huge 'thank you' for your program. After a very turbulent flight out of Denver in the late 90's, I was afraid to fly. I did go up again a few times but then 9/11 put me back another few years.
I used to be a trip director and loved to travel so I committed myself to learning to be comfortable again and your program helped immensely. I have been to Dallas, Chicago and LA and Palm Springs more times than I can count and I truly enjoy the flights now! I still touch the plane to feel its strength, meet the pilot and then sit back and relax knowing I am safer than anywhere in the world.
I look forward to our trip to Europe this summer!
Thank you again.
4. Beijing - "I Never Thought I Would Be Able To Do It"
Capt. Tom, I haven't had a chance to read your newsletters lately BECAUSE I'VE BEEN IN CHINA!!!!! I actually made it on a plane to Beijing. Oh my gosh, you can't believe how amazing I feel.
I thought that whole section of the planet was forever off limits to me. And with your help, I made it. Thank you so much for opening up my world. For letting me experience this wonderful, interesting and completely foreign culture. I never thought I would be able to do it.
As I was flying, pretty confidently, I felt like the whole world was once again open to me. It was amazing. Now maybe I can plan that African Safari, or kayaking in Australia. But even if I don't, this one trip to China was life-changing. And I am so happy and proud of myself.
And I thank you, thank you, thank you. You don't know what you've given me!!!
3. Military Flight
I flew to Louisiana on a military turbo prop plane. I wanted to write back to report how it went.
The anticipatory anxiety was the worst! And since I was having such a rough time I really didn't think that I would be OK on the flight. When we arrived at the airport, I promptly introduced myself to the pilot, co pilot, and flight chief. (with tears in my eyes!) They were very sympathetic and told me that if there was anything they could do to ease my fear they would. They invited me to the cockpit at any time (it was almost in plane sight the entire flight). The pilot also assured me that they wanted to arrive safely at the destination as much as I did, and they would do all in their power to ensure that.
As the plane took off I was amazed. I was nervous. I was not as comfortable as I would have been on the ground. But I was not the frantic mess I used to be. I was actually able to enjoy the flight. We were flying in the clouds and I could not see a thing as we descended and landed. But I knew that the pilots could and that was all that mattered. I was able to identify sounds and sensations thanks to your course. I kept myself calm in the knowledge that the plane was doing exactly what it should be and everything was fine.
2. First Flight
Well on my 49th birthday I finally took my first flight. I have always been scared of flying and would drive everywhere, even a 3-day trip from Ga. to Las Vegas. Well, when I found out our next meeting was back in Vegas and my boss was making me fly, I knew I had to find some program to help me with the flight. Thankfully I found SOAR on the web.
I have had anxiety attacks before and knew that is not something I wanted to experience on a airplane. Well, after reviewing the DVDs and reading every e-mail, the day came for me to take my first flight. I was expecting to feel somewhat nervous but it never came. I was truly surprised sitting in the terminal waiting to board the plane that I felt no anxiety. I boarded the plane, backed away from the terminal, taxied to the runway and had the plane take off before I remembered I was supposed to give the captain a letter stating I was a fearful flier.
It turned out that I really enjoyed the flight. I had a window seat and tracked the planes progress from Georgia to Vegas and couldn't wait for the return trip home. The only bad part about the trip was on the return flight I had a window seat over the wing and could not see the ground to track our progress cross county.
Thanks to you and your program I am eagerly waiting on our next sales meeting.
1. From Panic To Loving It Again
I just thought to write a few lines to thank you for your advice and effective course. For two years, I was suffering from horrible panic attacks, anticipatory anxiety that was starting a week before a flight and was totally dependent on tranquillizers. As I was flying for 25 years and I ABSOLUTELY loved traveling, these have wrecked my confidence while the panic attacks have also spread to other settings. Yesterday, for the first time I was able to fly from Athens to Brussels without experiencing all these horrible feelings. I have to admit that I took a Xanax but this was before the flight. I simply did not have enough faith that the horrible feelings would not suddenly manifest themselves. All the staff in Brussels Airlines were wonderful. The boarding assistants, the air stewardess, the captain. For me this experience was the best Christmas present!!!!
Thank you again for all the effort and time you put to create a program that truly helps people around the world.
My best Wishes for the New Year
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